A story Feb. 14 about Singles Awareness Day, or SAD, incorrectly reported that Zazzle.com offers e-cards. The company sells print cards online.
Valentine's Day by another name would perhaps be SAD, aka Singles Awareness Day, which is a rather fluid, pseudo-official holiday sometimes celebrated Feb. 14, though predominately Feb. 15 and, in some circles, can even be Feb. 13, depending on whim.
Even so, it's just as sweet.
While the acronym is a bit unfortunate -- seeing how the day is meant to promote feelings of joy, pride and solitary self-esteem -- it does provide the delightful oxymoronic opportunity to bid one another, "Happy
"Gee, there are so many good things about being single I can't think of just one," said Karen Tierney, a vintage-costume restorer in Alameda who thoroughly supports Singles Awareness, listing some of the benefits of flying solo as, "owning my time to indulge in whatever, whenever I want -- like dancing, traveling and reading for six hours if I feel like it."
To be sure, Singles Awareness is a time to celebrate one's freedom from the candy/card/flower conspiracy consuming of that other so-called holiday, allowing people to avoid unrealistic expectations, sappy cards, guilt trips, hurt feelings and the inhumane decapitation of roses in the name of romance.
SAD is a relatively new pseudo-holiday, as pseudo-holidays go. The website SinglesAwareness.com was copyrighted in 2005, and Internet rumor suggests it was started by some guy named Dustin at Mississippi State University. "The awareness day was established by single people who were just sick of feeling left out on Valentine's Day," according to the site, and perhaps the mysterious Dustin, "and support of the day is growing every year."
There's no designated way of celebrating Singles Awareness, other than, well, being aware. And that's the beauty of it. There's no pressure. Suggestions range from getting together with other single friends and maybe exchanging fun little gifts to signing up for a spa day or maybe even delivering balloons to a stranger in the hospital or nursing home.
Or you could send an e-card, such as "I Think, Therefore I'm Single" from zazzle.com. It's best if you send such a card to friends in relationships. They'll just love your sense of humor!
Eat your heart out
Tom Plante, psychology professor at Santa Clara University, thinks SAD is a swell idea because there's too much pressure in our culture to find the perfect romance without adding V-Day into the mix.
"A lot of it has to do with social comparison," he said. "We look around and make judgments about ourselves based on what we see around us. When it comes to Valentine's Day, we have developed -- through Hollywood, media, commercialism, and now social media and constant status updates -- unreasonably high expectations of what romance should be like: the violins playing, people frolicking through fields. And if you don't have this state of bliss, you're a loser."
SAD provides that release valve, Plante said. "(It) makes sense, with single people saying, 'Hey, hold it! What about us?'"
And single folks are not alone in appreciating SAD.
David Falk, 23, of Oakland, says he has a girlfriend, but "we totally agree about Valentine's Day being just a corporate holiday, just created to sell cards," he said. "So the singles day is a good idea. Definitely when you're single on Valentine's Day, you're much more aware of being single than any regular day when you just see a couple walking down the street holding hands. Valentine's Day kind of highlights it."
Read Angela Hill's Give 'Em Hill column on Sundays. Follow her at Twitter.com/giveemhill.